According to Carig, Chien-Ming Wang’s wife is due to give birth any time now, and that might mean the erstwhile ace* could bolt from Fenway prematurely. That could be good or bad news, of course. Wang doesn’t have the greatest track record against the Red Sox, and considering his 2009 woes he might might leave the game early anyway.
* We’ve used the term “erstwhile ace” a few times. I quite like it. Do you?
Tim Wakefield has pitched basically a season’s worth of innings against the Yankees in his career. In those 223.2 frames he has a 5.03 ERA. As we saw with Josh Beckett last night, though, that means very little. He can give the Sox a scoreless outing, as he did on September 28 last year. He can pitch a quality start, as he did on July 6 (6.1 IP, 3 ER). Or he can get totally freaking tagged, as he did on June 1, 2007 (I quite enjoyed being in the bleachers for that one). You never know what you’re going to get from Wakefield until the game starts.
In his career Chien-Ming Wang has tossed 84 innings against the Sox to a 4.82 ERA. Last year was a Jekyll and Hyde one for Wang against the Sox. On April 11 he tossed a complete game two-hitter, allowing just one run (the homer by J.D. Drew that Bobby Abreu might have been able to catch if the feared wall hadn’t impeded his leap). Then, five days later, the Sox tattooed him for eight runs in four innings. It was a mixed bag in 2007, too. Wang gave up four runs in six innings, three runs in 5.2 innings, zero runs in seven innings, and five runs in 5.2 innings. Given this and his performance this season, it’s understandable if Yankees fans are apprehensive about his appearance tonight.
Still, the Yanks had to get Chien-Ming Wang back into the rotation. It’s unfortunate that his second start back comes against the Red Sox. That’s baseball, though. You want your five best pitchers tossing the most innings, and when he’s right Wang is one of the Yanks’ best five. Ben and I have been vocal in our displeasure with how the Yanks handled his situation, but what’s done is done. They had/have to figure out of Wang is one of their five best, so getting him into the rotation was the only thing they could do. The good news: he’ll get a good test tonight. The bad news: failure means the Yanks could be out of first place and yet another game in the hole to the Sox.
Some pre-game note:
- From PeteAbe: Bruney will throw a simulated game tomorrow. The Yanks will then determine the next step, which could mean a rehab assignment starting Saturday. The sooner he gets back, the better — but obviously not at the cost of losing him again.
- Xavier Nady is headed to New York on Friday to workout. Sounds like he’ll also get into rehab games. Having him as a DH alternative to Matsui will be good. That would make for an inflexible bench, but said bench currently features Angel Berroa, so on the whole it’s a big, big net gain.
- Melky Cabrera, Opening Day 2008 through May 5th: .291/.359/.505. Melky Cabrera, Opening Day 2009 through May 5th: .344/.408/.563. Melky Cabrera, May 6th, 2008, through June 9th: .250/.286/.277. Melky Cabrera, May 6th, 2009, through June 9th: .258/.298/.371. We can speculate forever on why this happens, but it’s not at all encouraging.
1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Johnny Damon, LF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Robinson Cano, 2B
6. Jorge Posada, C
7. Hideki Matsui, DH
8. Nick Swisher, RF
9. Melky Cabrera, CF
And on the mound, number forty, Chien-Ming Wang.